If HR is to play a strategic business partner role in the organization, it needs to streamline its activities so it can find time to handle the rigors of strategic HR Management and Development.
When HR Transforms into a strategic partner, it cannot shed off it transactional activities like pre-employment screening and administration, personnel administration and others. As it embarks on taking a bigger role in Strategic recruitment, training, performance management, career and succession planning and others, new daunting tasks of information gathering and management also arise. It is easy to be caught in these tasks that there will be little or no time left to look at the HR situation and carry out strategies to better it. There are only two options for HR to take on the job and do it effectively. The first one is to have enough complement to address the organization's HR needs. The other one is to invest in IT to automate the mundane and repetitive tasks that get in the way of tackling HR's more strategic roles. I choose automation over increasing the HR population unnecessarily.
what should be automated?
Human Resource Information System (HRIS)
When I worked at a large data processing company employing thousands of people, we had a 201 file room that could house my current company. The 201 files were in brown folders so they get misplaced and or lost and had to be rebuilt again. We also had about three people managing personnel records. Imagine the cost of that versus buying a decent HRIS that can be managed so that people have different access levels.
Some good HRIS cover a wide range of HR services. Here are some Philippine HRIS vendors that I was able to Google:
Time-keeping and payroll.
If you have between one to 50 employees, you can probably still work with excel sheets and paper time log, but as you grow bigger as an organization, these tasks will require more and more time. When I was a young HR Manager, I computed the amount I need to spend for automating this process and the amount I will pay someone to do the timekeeping and payroll for 100 employees and found that the cheapest system is worth 3 months the salary of the person I'm going to hire. I showed this to management and had my very first Timekeeping and payroll system. Let me also add that the use of biometric system also helps reduce the need for manual inputting and prevents fraud.Below are some local vendors:
Performance Management System
A good performance management system should allow a line manager to set his employee's performance goals, monitor his performance, provide timely feedback for capacity and capability building, evaluate performance of the employee for a period, and reward performance accordingly. it should also give higher management an opportunity to look at the collective performance of the employees look for exploitable strengths, identify gaps and address these gap. If you have more than 50 employees this process can get pretty daunting. A good automated system should allow both manager and employee to set performance goals online, track performance against goals, record feedbacking sessions and developmental interventions, evaluate performance and then complete the cycle by setting new goals. A good automated system should also allow the manager to compare the employee's performance with others or against past performance to determine if there is growth or if there is a gap that needs to be addressed. The link below is from Storm Consulting. They have a very good system.
Identifying training needs, coming up with a training plan, managing the training events, evaluating training and ensuring follow through are some of the challenging tasks in managing training. A lot of these can be automated. If these activities can be automated, HR will have more time looking at the soundness of the training plans, effectiveness of training delivery and strategizing for future training. Some very good HRIS have training management as a component.
Benefits management is normally a part of a typical HRIS. It's fairly simple and easy to manage. If you are looking at the possibility of coming up with a cafeteria type benefits management program, you'll do well to automate it or even outsource the management of it. The cafeteria style of benefits management can help a company customize it's benefits package to suit the needs and wants of the employees but managing it is quite complicated. Without automation, can be fairly difficult to manage and quite resource hungry. It helps to have a good system in place.
Communicating HR policies and events is one of the biggest challenge of HR. an Intranet will help them make sure that employees can access needed HR related information via the intranet. It also relieves HR of the need to repeatedly explain things to employees. A good intranet program should be interactive and allows employees not only to access soft copies of company policies and memos, but also transact with HR using forms and templates available through the system.
Keep in mind that automation seldom work well right away. It's always a good decision to run the old new system simultaneously until you are confident that the new system is working well.
You know what Murphy said, Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. This is even more true with computers and software. They crash, conk out, attacked by viruses, etc. It is always safer to back up your data and have them stored in several locations.
If you know of good vendors, and other HR activities that can be automated, please feel free to share them by commenting below.